‘Home Sweet Home Alone’: Another Sequel That Misses the Mark

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JD Jones, Arts & Entertainment

You can’t find many movies that are more synonymous with Christmas than “Home Alone”. The 1990 classic is the definition of iconic, from John Williams’ music, to the slapstick home invasion at the end, to “Keep the change, ya filthy animal!” There are so many moments in the movie to cherish, so there seemed to be an opening for sequels. However, most of them have failed, with the exception of “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”, but that’s mostly because it retained the same cast and crew. “Home Alone 3” was the last one to be released theatrically, while “Home Alone 4” and “Home Alone: The Holiday Heist” were made for TV. Despite varying the way they were released, the result was always the same: mostly awful, rarely funny, and almost no bright spots. However, Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox seemed to perhaps hint at a new entry into the franchise. And, on November 12, 2021, a sixth (yes, sixth, you read correctly) movie entitled “Home Sweet Home Alone” was released straight to Disney+. 

The film centers on a new kid named Max Mercer (Archie Yates) who has to protect his house from two married burglars (Rob Delaney and Ellie Kemper) who are after an old family heirloom. The response to this latest installment received a lot of critical backlash, which is consistent with the other sequels. Honestly, the reactions might be a bit extreme, but I’d still recommend you rewatch the first two!

Before “Home Sweet Home Alone”, the last two “Home Alone” sequels were TV films, so with a slight upgrade in budget and talent in terms of cast and director, my still-low expectations thought maybe a bit more effort would be put into this. Unfortunately, the lazy rehash that followed didn’t surprise me. While Archie Yates is a charming kid actor (see “Jojo Rabbit” if you don’t believe me), he’s not given a lot of viable material to deal with. The scenes with him alone in his house are pale copies of Macaulay Culkin in the original, and in a bizarre move, the only ounce of originality this movie offers, is that it focuses more on the thieves than the kid! It’s a weird move, not necessarily because Delaney and Kemper are mediocre, because they are, but because it fundamentally changes the dynamic the movie is trying to achieve. “Home Alone”’s duo of Harry and Marv are irredeemable villains, which makes the slapstick they succumb to satisfying. The duo of “Home Sweet Home Alone”, Jeff and Kemper (Delaney and Kemper respectively) are portrayed more sympathetically, so when the slapstick occurs, it has the reverse effect. The rest of the cast is squandered too, with talented comedians like Chris Parnell and Pete Holmes wasted as forgettable family members, or Kenan Thompson playing a minor role that has no merit.

 “Home Sweet Home Alone” also lacks that transportive air that the original movie had concerning Christmas. The filmmaking is flat and stale, and it all feels cheap in production. The original “Home Alone” has rich colors, fun music, and it all just felt right. This feels more like a commercial product than an exercise in good holiday filmmaking. Plus, considering it’s supposed to be a comedy, it doesn’t really work on that front either. Most of the written gags and puns forced more groans than chuckles, and while the slapstick fares mildly better, it’s still repetitive from what has come before. 

Your holiday season will fare much better if you ignore “Home Sweet Home Alone” and just watch the first two classics. The new film is nothing more than Disney flexing that it got a new property and trying to create a viable product out of it. In doing so, they sapped the joy out of one of the best Christmas movies around, so just don’t do it! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!